Venue: Hybrid Meeting - Council Chamber/Teams
Contact: Mrs Sara Steele, Democratic Services Officer
Apologies were recorded on behalf of Alderman McCoubrey and Councillors de Faoite,Flynn, Newton, O’Hara and Verner.
Declarations of Interest
No Declarations of Interest were reported.
Housing Investment Plan 2022 Annual Update
The Committee was informed that the following representatives of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) were in attendance to provide the third annual update on the Housing Investment Plan for Belfast 2019-2023:
Grainia Long (Chief Executive)
Jennifer Hawthorne (Acting Director of Housing Services)
Elma Newberry (Assistant Director)
Leeann Vincent (Asset Management)
Andy Kennedy (Asset Management)
Carole Johnston (Area Manager)
Paddy Kelly (Area Manager)
Gerard Flynn (Area Manager)
Ailbhe Hickey (Regional Place Shaper)
Kevin Boyle (Housing Analytics Manager)
Lynda Hughes (Communications)
Martin Flynn (Communications)
Roisin O’Neill (Central Grants)
Alistair Mawhinney (Supporting People) and
Angela Brannigan (Housing Analytics)
The NIHE Chief Executive commenced by providing an overview of Housing Executive spend across Belfast during 2021/2022, detailing that, of the £155.18m spent, £77.24m related to ‘Investment New Build’, £26.73m had been spent on planned maintenance and improvements, £20.54m on response maintenance, and £20.88m on the Supporting People Programme. She also detailed projected spend for 2022/23, including £36.87m allocated to planned maintenance including stock improvements, £22.26m for response maintenance and £20.84 to Supporting People. The Members were advised that the Housing Executive stock in Belfast was currently 25,239 homes.
Ms. Long emphasised the importance of the Community Planning Partnership and working together towards meeting the outcomes within the Belfast Agenda. She provided an overview of the following priorities and initiatives within the context of community planning, specifically the work of both the Living Here Board and City Development Board:
· A Housing Led Regeneration subgroup had been established in 2021;
· The aim being to increase housing supply across all tenures;
· Where necessary, assess the potential for land and public ownership to meet housing needs;
· Examine the barriers to delivery of new homes across the City; and
· To bring forward PlaceShaping pilots to ensure integration of housing and supporting infrastructure and encourage effective collaboration across both the public and private sector.
The Chief Executive explained that the Housing Investment Plan (HIP) provided an overview of the housing market in the Belfast City Council area and reflected Community Planning priorities locally. She confirmed that 55% of homes in Belfast were owner occupied, 19% private rented and 27% social rented. She advised that, currently, private landlords were leaving the rental market, this was having an impact on the number of people having to be placed in temporary accommodation.
The Members were presented with figures regarding waiting lists, which showed an increase in applications and those in housing stress, whilst the number of allocations had fallen in recent years, broadening the gap between supply and demand, which was deemed to require urgent intervention. She stated that with the current economic climate it was predicted that this gap would increase further.
Ms. Long reported on the figures for those presenting as homeless, in the period 2021/22, 4,553 people had presented as homeless, the level of acceptances had been 2,820 and the numbers placed in temporary accommodation 4,479. She emphasised that chronic homelessness was a real issue within Belfast and advised that it ... view the full minutes text for item 3.